Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund
Podcast #89 — Aired April 10, 2016

Because of the life of a little girl, thousands of families in crisis have been receiving help for nearly forty years. This week on BetterWorldians Radio, we’re talking about the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund with founder Peggy Dolan. Peggy will tell listeners how the life of her daughter inspired her to start a fund to lighten the burdens and lift the spirits of families with seriously ill children.

 

 

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Peggy Dolan
Founder, Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund

Peggy Dolan founded the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund the day after her daughter, Kelly Anne, passed away at the age of six from a rare form of leukemia with a mission to help families caring for children with serious illnesses. Over the last forty years, the fund has lightened the burdens and lifted the spirit of more than 27,000 families in crisis. Peggy served as Executive Director of the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund from 1976 to 2016. A graduate of Chestnut Hill College, Peggy is Chair Emerita of the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross Blood Services for the Penn Jersey Region; a board member of Mercy-Suburban Hospital; and a member of Arcadia University's Genetic Counseling Masters Program Advisory Committee. Peggy has received numerous local and national awards and honors.

 

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Hi, welcome to BetterWorldians Radio. BetterWorldians Radio is a weekly broadcast whose mission is to uplift and inspire you to make the world a better place. Im Ray Hansell joined today by my co-host MarySue Hansell. BetterWorldians Radio is brought to you by the family team that created the popular social game on Facebook called A Better World. It rewards players for doing good deeds while helping to raise money and awareness for charities. Today, over forty million good deeds have been done in A Better World by four million people. Good deeds include expressions of gratitude, random acts of kindness, sending notes to real world sick kids, just to name a few. This week were talking with Peggy Dolan, founder of the Kelly Anne Dolan memorial fund. Peggy founded the fund the day after her daughter, Kelly Anne, passed away at the age of six from a rare form of leukemia to help families caring for children with serious illnesses. Over the last forty years, the fund has lightened the burdens and lifted the spirit of more than 27,000 families in crisis. Peggy served as Executive Director of the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund from 1976 to 2016. A graduate of Chestnut Hill College, Peggy is Chair Emerita of the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross Blood Services for the Penn Jersey Region; a board member of Mercy-Suburban Hospital; and a member of Arcadia University's Genetic Counseling Masters Program Advisory Committee. Peggy has received numerous local and national awards and honors. Hi Peggy, thanks for joining us today on BetterWorldians Radio.

Peggy
Thanks so much Ray, I really appreciate this opportunity.

Raymond Hansell
You certainly deserve it. MarySue and I have been, as you know, supporting the fund for over fifteen years, so its really great to talk to you in person today and learn even more about the work that youre doing.

Peggy
Thank you.

Raymond Hansell
Can you tell our listeners a little bit about Kelly Anne and how the fund got started?

Peggy
Sure. Kelly Anne was my first-born, I should say our first-born and she was born on New Years Eve 1969, so I always joked that she was the last of the sixties. And it was a holiday that I never really got into, and when she was born, I said, well now I have a reason to bang pots outside like everybody else, you know, at midnight. But she was just a great kid, and you know, my mom used to babysit Kelly and my middle daughter Chris who was just thirteen months younger. So I worked with my husband, we had a printing and packaging company in Bristol, and I can remember when Kelly was about a year and a half, my mom started to express a little concern. She thought she looked pale and she asked me if I ever had a blood test done. And I said I take her to the pediatrician regularly and, you know, he would know if there was anything wrong, and I said, besides she has blonde hair and she fair, and my other daughter Chris had dark hair and she was rosy complected. But somewhere in the summer when she was a year and a half, we started to see bruises on her, and one day in particular, when I went to pick her up from my moms, she said I dont know what happened, you know, she had this big, big ugly bruise on her stomach. She said she never cried, and again, you think, well shes a toddler, shes falling over things, you know, she was like, we used to call her Moose, she was rough and tough. But it was one morning after her second birthday that I went to get her out of her crib and when I saw her, she no longer looked fair to me, pale like my mother expressed concern about, but she had a greyish hue about her. And I had a really sick feeling that something was seriously wrong and I called the doctor, and I asked if I could bring her in. And I took her to the pediatrician that morning and he did a blood test, and he said that they would call in about three hours. Well they called me in two hours, and asked me to get her to the hospital right away because her hemoglobin, you know, your red cells was down to four point something and it should have been somewhere up around twelve or fourteen. And that started the whole thing, and we were transferred from a hospital in Montgomery county down to Childrens Hospital in Philadelphia. And by the end of that week, and after two transfusions, she received the diagnosis of aplastic anemia, and I thought oh thank God its not leukemia, its only aplastic anemia. But aplastic anemia is a malfunction of the bone marrow, where your blood products are produced. So she didnt make enough red cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, or white cells to fight infection, or platelets to control bleeding. So essentially she reacted like someone with an immune disorder. Anytime she ran a fever, we were immediately hospitalized and put in an isolation room, and you know, thank God my mom didnt work cause she took care of my other daughter, we cant leave a two year old in an isolation room for weeks on end. So I would stay at the hospital with her, my husband would go to work, he would come to the hospital in the evening. We would eat our dinner at the hospital and he would go back home. And thats the way we lived. And my mom would bring my other daughter up to the hospital about three or four times a week, so that I could see her. And, it was during that whole process that we met so many other parents and families with similar, much worse, things happening to them. And thats when we really began to see how lucky we were actually that we were a complete family, I wasnt a single parent, I didnt have to go to work, I could stay at the hospital with her and know that my other daughters being well taken care of by my mom and my dad. And you know, we heard these awful stories about parents losing their jobs, having the lights turned out, you know, being threatened with all sorts of loses, like a repossession of a car, only because they were having their incomes depleted and their expenses rising and it was a nightmare, you know, hearing what was happening to families. All while theyre trying to be good parents and manage the care of a sick child and well siblings at home.

Raymond Hansell
So this is, so is this what led you to eventually start the fund as you moved through that process?

Peggy
Absolutely. After about five years of her being sick and us spending so much time in the hospital meeting so many families and hearing, you know, what kinds of burdens they were carrying. Kelly Annes condition evolved into a very rare form of leukemia and we discovered that she had a very short time to live. And thats when my late husband started to talk to me about starting a foundation or a fund to help families in these sorts of situations. Not only as a way to memorialize Kelly Anne, but as a way to give back. Because you know, when youre in these situations, people really come out of the woodwork to help. You know, its not only your friends and your families that give a hand, but its like, friends of friends who will send cards or you know, I could find a dinner on my doorstep after being at the hospital all day and you know, a friend would say oh its nothing, you know, but after youve had tiring and traumatic day, to think that somebodys made dinner for you and its waiting for you at home, is tremendous. You know, people that would step in and help with babysitting and take care of our other daughter Chrissie was a tremendous help to us.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah these little things, the little things count so much more than they appear to, but they, you know, isnt it a case that often those things arrive as such a sweet surprise and make a much bigger difference than they would appear to be.

Peggy
Right, and you know, as I say, Kelly was a blood user and she would be transfused anywhere from five to fifteen times a month.

Raymond Hansell
Oh boy.

Peggy
And you never get to see the blood donor who took the time to donate blood because they knew it was the right thing to do.

Raymond Hansell
Right.

Peggy
They dont know whos going to receive the blood products, and as a recipient, and a recipient family, you have no way to reach them to thank them, you know, and let them know how important it was that if youre in an ambulance headed down to the emergency room with a bleeding child, how nice it is to know that theres a bag of blood there waiting for you. You know, its not always the case that they would have everything in stock at the hospital. So, so it does, it leaves you with such a debt of gratitude, that having the fund setup is really the only way you can give back.

Raymond Hansell
So, what did you accomplish in the early days of the fund?

Peggy
Not a whole lot. Because a year after Kelly died, we accomplished getting it established, you know, going through paperwork and the legalities, getting the word out to the social workers at childrens hospitals in Philadelphia at St. Christophers Hospital so that they knew that there would be some sort of help for families.

Raymond Hansell
Right.

Peggy
And setting guidelines. But after Kelly died, I became pregnant with our third daughter, Kimie, and Kimie was actually a delivered three days after the anniversary of Kellys death. I was afraid she was going to be born right on the anniversary, but she was born October 8th, 1977, Kelly died October 5th, 1976.

Raymond Hansell
Boy.

Peggy
And they always say, you never know how deep you are in grief as a family until new life can come back. And its not that she was ever a replacement for Kelly Anne, but it gives you hope and another person to cling to, and our daughter Chrissie was just elated. Ill never forget when we brought her home from the hospital for the first time, Chrissie was in first grade, and when she arrived home she immediately ran in and picked Kimie up off of her infant seat and carried her around the house to show her all the different things, and show her the toys.

Raymond Hansell
Oh boy.

Peggy
It was great.

Raymond Hansell
Those memories are wonderful.

Peggy
Really, but one morning when Kim was four months old, I went to get her out of the crib and change her, and when I unsnapped her sleeper I could barely catch my breath, because Kimies body was covered in petechiae from the neck all the way down to the soles of her feet, palms of her hands. Petechiae to the average person might look like a rash, its little purple spots on the skin, but what it is, is its blood seeping from the veins, your veins have a very thin membrane on them and any kind of pressure, we can all get petechiae, but youll get one or two maybe on your hand or arm. And when theres pressure in the veins it stretches it and this membrane might get a little tear, like a little hole, and the platelets act like corks in the blood stream and they plug up these holes. If you dont have platelets or adequate numbers of platelets, the blood will seep through and rise to the surface skin and cause this purple freckle. And here was Kimie coated with them, more than I had ever seen Kelly get petechiae.

Raymond Hansell
Oh my goodness.

Peggy
So I called the hospital right away and they said, I told them what happened and they said, dont get, dont worry Peg, you know, theres all kinds of reasons for this. But I also said if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck.

Raymond Hansell
Its probably a duck.

Peggy
It turned out to be the same thing.

Raymond Hansell
Oh boy.

Peggy
Kelly had, so we were right back in the throws of hospital life and lots of hospitalizations and emergency room trips and trauma to say the least. And meeting more families and hearing more stories and again, realizing how lucky we were that we had insurance, that you know, my husband had a job and had a partner that we could count on to keep the business going when he would have to be at the hospital with us. And, after four years, what happened was Kimie built up so many antibodies to all of the transfusions that she had received, because she was getting blood at the same rate that Kelly would get blood. She became resistant to blood transfusions and they stopped working adequately. So our backs were up against the wall and we had to make arrangements for bone marrow transplant. And childrens hospital would have been able to do it, but they preferred not to because they were so close to our family that they didnt, you know, if push came to shove, they didnt want to be influenced by us, I guess. Kelly Anne actually would have been the first bone marrow transplant patient at childrens in Philadelphia had we a donor. As it turned out, my husband was a good match for Kimie and we were sent to Seattle Washington, because Seattle was where bone marrow transplants originated and they had the most experience, and they felt that she would get a heavy dose of graft versus host disease. So they thought that Seattle would be able to manage her better. However, before we spoke to a doctor in Seattle we heard from their business office four times just to make sure. Now this is 1982, March of 1982, we heard from the business office four times just to make sure that we had the insurance, or the money to cover the cost of the transplant, at that point which was one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Now, well over a half a million, probably closer to a million. If you didnt have the insurance and you didnt have the money, you just simply werent accepted into the program. Fortunately for us, we had great insurance and then we heard from the medical team, thats when we were told to make plans and arrangements to be there no less than one hundred days. Now can you imagine if you had your own business and didnt have a partner like we were lucky to have, or if you worked for someone else, you know, how would you cover the cost of living out there and covering your expenses at home? You know, we still had to pay the mortgage and pay all the other bills that go along with home ownership. So we managed it all and we left Philadelphia on May 11th, 1982, Kimie was four years old. So my biggest fear was that we werent going to bring her back, you know, alive. We spent from May 11th until August 28th or 27th in Seattle. And again meeting families from all over the country and hearing these incredible stories of hardship and what it took for them to get there and you know, just to fly out, you know, and what the families had been through and knowing that people were dying all around us, you know, that families were losing family members, it wasnt just for children, there were adults as well. And there were periods of time where Kimie was getting transfused every day, and she got graft versus host disease at one point where she was bleeding internally, had the lining of her mouth slough off right down the esophagus and just really tough things. Again, and we had a transfusion the day before we left to come home, and we never needed another transfusion after that.

Raymond Hansell
Oh thats wonderful.

Peggy
Yeah, Kimie is now thirty eight and she just held a fundraiser for us on Sunday with a Zumba-thon, with nearly a hundred of her Zumba dancers.

Raymond Hansell
Oh thats fantastic.

Peggy
And they raised about three thousand dollars for the fund. So its an incredible.

Raymond Hansell
Oh thats an incredible story, Im so glad that that turned out so well for you under those circumstances especially.

Peggy
Yeah, really, but, like I say it took a lot of people to make all of that happen.

Raymond Hansell
Oh yes it did, yes it did. Now youve helped thousands of families through this Kelly Anne Dolan memorial fund. Can you talk about some of the needs that actually the funds regularly meet for families that need this?

Peggy
Sure, yeah. Yeah well, like I said we saw everything at the hospital, so we didnt want the fund to be disease specific, you know, even though Kelly and Kimie both ended up with cancer, we saw what was going on in hematology with sickle cell anemia and thalassemia, and all these rare genetic disorders, and the birth defects and it doesnt matter what you call it, you know, serious illness and serious disabilities and awful injuries like gun shot wounds, it all causes the same kind of hardships on families. Parents are taken out of work, and you know, the expenses go through the roof, but you know, we just keep trying to manage what we hear about. You know, we dont work directly with the families, we have the social workers or case managers, or just visiting nurses make referrals to us. Like children who are ventilator dependent, you know, so many families have children who are on ventilators at home, and not only is it stressful and sometimes they have visiting nurses to come in and assist. But the expenses go through the roof and these families have electric bills that are doubled and tripled out of a normal home. Because they have ventilator running maybe twenty four hours a day, or ten hours a day, and they also need air conditioning because the children cant regulate their body temperatures and theres air purifiers and feeding pumps perhaps, so theyre all run on electricity. And yet insurance doesnt cover the cost of the electricity thats needed. So thats, you know, what we hear.

Raymond Hansell
Thats one of the hidden things that you cant think of, but they have a big impact. Can you tell us a favorite story of a family that you helped directly through the fund, one of the richer stories?

Peggy
Sure, okay. We had almost a really bad winter, maybe two years ago, we had a family of five, a mom and a dad and three children. Two of the children had sickle cell disease and the dad as well, because it is genetic. And the dad had a stroke and was disabled. And two of the children had been in and out of the hospital throughout the year with different crisis periods. It was at a point when, Ill say it was in January, when the temperature had been in the single digits and what did they call it, the polar vortex, and the families heater broke and the person that came out to see it was supposed to get back to them, and never did. And they had one portable heater that they were all sitting around, and the medical team was afraid that the children were going to end up back in crisis again and in the hospital. So thats when we got a call, from their social worker to see if we could help. Well I had made a great contact with a district manager at Home Depot and called to see if they could do something. Well, what he did immediately was to send over an additional five or six heaters, portable heaters, and then got in touch with their heating contractor, had the heating contractor come out and look at the heater and he said, you know, they couldnt repair it. So they replaced the whole thing and the family got a brand new heating system to get them through the rest of that awful winter.

Raymond Hansell
Oh that was fantastic.

Peggy
It is, its incredible, cause thats, the important thing we can do is to network with more people and do things like that. Another story thats always seared into my head, we get a lot of referrals to help grandparents. You know, in our society now theres so many grandparents that are legal guardians of their grandchildren. And this was to assist grandparents who were seventy eight, eighty years old. And they were the legal guardians of their three year old grandson who had AIDS, his mom had died the year before and the grandparents were taking care of him. And the well ran dry, and I think they lived in a trailer. So the well ran dry and they couldnt afford the drilling expenses, which might have been about seven hundred dollars. So a social worker called to see if we could help, and I said, sure. However, in the same home with the seventy eight year old and the eighty year old grandparents and the three year old little boy with AIDS, was the seventy eight year olds one hundred year old mother, and she was dying. I just, you know, I cant make up these things.

Raymond Hansell
No, this is impossible. So oh my goodness, so you pitched in and helped them as well?

Peggy
Oh sure, yeah. I would of done the drilling myself after hearing the whole story.

Raymond Hansell
No, thats amazing. Were going to take a short break right now, when we return well talk more about the Kelly Anne Dolan memorial fund and the amazing impact that its having on families. In the meantime, if youre a fan of BetterWorldians Radio, please check out our game on Facebook called A Better World. A Better World encourages habits of kindness, goodness, positive mindsets and giving to social causes like these to make a positive impact in the world. Players actually do things like express gratitude, share random acts of kindness, send get well notes to real world sick kids, and many, many more. And were excited to announce that the Kelly Anne Dolan memorial fund is our charity partner for the month of April. Were challenging our players to complete three hundred thousand good deeds in the game this month. And when they do, and theyre well on their way to doing so, we will release funds to help the Kelly Anne Dolan memorial fund to continue to lighten the burden and lift the spirits of families caring for seriously ill children. To find out more and play at Facebook dot com a better world. Well be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Youre listening to BetterWorldians Radio. Were speaking with Peggy Dolan founder of the Kelly Anne Dolan memorial fund. Now lets welcome back Peggy and my co-host MarySue Hansell.

MarySue Hansell
Hi Peggy.

Peggy
Well hi MarySue.

MarySue Hansell
Well that was really some stories, and thankful that your organization is around, is all I can say, youve really helped thousands and thousands and thousands of families with these seriously ill children.

Peggy
And youve helped us along the way, so I thank you.

MarySue Hansell
Well, we were happy to do it, Ray and I. And its really wonderful hearing these stories because we feel even better having donated for these fifteen years, and hopefully we can encourage some of our listeners to do so also.

Peggy
Great, thanks.

MarySue Hansell
Yeah. How can our listeners help, Ill just ask that question right now since were talking about it?

Peggy
Well of course the course the obvious way to help is to send money, you know.

MarySue Hansell
Yes, money, money.

Peggy
So send lots of money.

MarySue Hansell
Yes.

Peggy
But in reality theres so many ways that people can get involved. Number on is if their children are in school. See if their schools will get involved. Weve had such luck working with schools from preschool, all the way up to college and university level. Where fundraiser have begun. As a matter of a fact, theres a middle school in Warrington, Pennsylvania here that has held their sixteenth annual basketball shootout for us.

MarySue Hansell
Oh.

Peggy
And what they do, its an all day event, but in January of each year I go into the school and I address their assembly about the organization, but also about, you know, the needs of families in crisis and how were all part of the whole, how you could meet lifes challenges. Just because life doesnt go according to plan, and that certainly this was not my plan.

MarySue Hansell
Okay, oh boy.

Peggy
You know, that life still goes on and sometimes goes on a better track for you. And so they, they hold this event. Itll be about five hundred kids that are playing basketball throughout the day, from like eight in the morning until nine at night. The parents are involved, the faculty is involved, they look forward to this event every year, you know, theyll have raffles and games in another gymnasium where the kids can challenge teachers and they had ping pong this year in one of the classrooms. So theres all this activity, its like a carnival for them.

MarySue Hansell
You know what Peggy, I think I saw it on Facebook, did you have?

Peggy
Yeah, exactly.

MarySue Hansell
So we should tell our listeners to go to your Facebook page so they can check that out.

Peggy
Yeah, please like our Facebook page, because thats where you see all thats going on. But this school, this middle school in the past sixteen years, they just held their sixteenth annual one in February, and raised another twenty seven thousand dollars. Theyve raised over three hundred and eighty five thousand dollars for us.

MarySue Hansell
Thats amazing.

Peggy
It is amazing, and theyve become partners and what happens is, the kids move on to high school and they do things for us in high school, and you know, theyre on my Facebook page, and they become friends and, you know, and its just really sweet, and you know, I can just watch them grow up. We had one of their alumni even serve on the board of directors as a student advocate if you would. But, so yeah, so schools, clubs, people who belong to clubs like, we have the suburban Philadelphia womens club that weve been beneficiary of their events for, oh well over a dozen years now. Rotaries, Kiwanis, last year I spoke at about thirty five different Rotary clubs in the three states that we serve. And so Rotaries have done lots for us in many, two of my best board members are one, are coming from a Rotary. Volunteers, we have volunteers for all of the events, but also here in the office to help us out, or with photography, or graphic design work, computer needs, to sit on the board of directors, you know. And for our families, we not only donate money to support, you know, their needs, but we also get material goods, you know. Just because a family has a child or two that has a serious illness, doesnt mean that their house might not be burn down. We have so many families thats just lost everything in fires, you know, and they didnt have insurance to cover the needs of getting back on their feet, so we can help get furnishings for them and household needs, stuff like that, cars, and we were able to get a couple handicap vans donated that were given then to the families that needed them.

MarySue Hansell
Thats fabulous. And you know what Peggy, one of the big celebrations coming up here in your fortieth anniversary, can you tell us about that and where its going to be?

Peggy
I sure can. Were going to be celebrating and marking the fortieth anniversary of our organization in October. Which is always a bittersweet time, you know, Kelly died on the fifth of October, this fund was established on the sixth. And itll be held at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia on October ninth, so well be listing all the details on our website and on Facebook as well. Were looking for sponsors and partners, well have a big orchestra that day and you know, we really hope to celebrate all that weve be able to accomplish in the lives weve been able to touch and honored to get involved with these families would let us be involved. So yeah were really looking forward to it.

MarySue Hansell
That sounds like a lot of fun coming up and did see on the Facebook page that the Zumba dancing. So it sounds like you folks do a lot of fun things to raise funds.

Peggy
Right, anything that works.

MarySue Hansell
Anything that works. Now youre probably going to miss some of this. You were talking before the show that youre going to be retiring after forty years.

Peggy
Well retiring for me is going to be different then somebody thats retiring, like my dad retired from RCA, you know, you walk away and you wave goodbye and never go back again.

MarySue Hansell
Right, right.

Peggy
Ill always be involved with the fund. Ill be a spokesperson, Ill work with schools, I said to somebody recently, Ill probably be able to do a better job out of here, than I did in here. Cause Ill get to do the things that Im really good at doing.

MarySue Hansell
Well thats good. What do you enjoy most?

Peggy
I really enjoy working with the kids, that is so special to me. Theres a preschool in Yardly called Woodside Christian preschool, this attached to their church, and their director had read, a big article that was in the enquirer back in 1991, and thats before I even had an office. And she called me at my home and introduced herself and said, she read this article and she really liked what we were doing. And she said, would it be okay if I did a fundraiser with our three, four and five year olds. And my first question to her was, is that legal? And she said, sure. Well they have been doing the longest nonstop fundraiser for us, since 1991, the Funny Feet Walk for Kids. Theyre three, four and five year olds, and every time Ill go and Ill watch them do it, they can raise now, their schools doubled in size I might add, so they can raise anywhere from five to seven thousand dollars a year for us. But one of the things that I feel is important is, not only that the kids are raising money, the families are giving us money to support this activity of their children, I like to go into the classrooms when its over and sit on the floor with them, and ask them what theyre doing. Ill say something like, you know I was outside today and I watched you running around in circles, what were you doing? And theyll shout, it was a walk-a-thon. And Ill say really, well why do you do a walk-a-thon. And Ill get all these strange answers coming back, you know, and finally somebody will say, its to help the sick kids. And then Ill get into the whole thing about, you know, what happens to a family, and they get it. And the one year, I was sitting in the circle, and we started to talk about kids in the hospital and whats a hospital like, when this little girl across the circle from me raised her hand and said, my pop was real sick and he was in the hospital and died and went to heaven. And I though, oh boy, this never happened before, I said honey, I bet you miss your papa, dont you? And she said yeah. I said, you know what, along time ago my little girl was in the hospital and she was real sick and she died and went to heaven. I said, you know I bet your papa and my little girl were sitting together on heavens floor and watching you and seeing all the great stuff you were doing with your friends, and they all smiled and they shook their hands and heads.

MarySue Hansell
Aw, that was so sweet.

Peggy
And the little girl sitting next to me kept running up to me during the day and giving me a hug, cause I had a feather duster that I would dust them off, and, as they walked by and they thought that was fun.

MarySue Hansell
Oh yeah.

Peggy
She pulled on my sleeve and I said, yeah sweetie what is it? She said, my daddy died and went to heaven, well, I got such a lump and I looked in my throat, and the teacher was nodding yes, and I put my arm around her and I hugged her and I said, you know, I said I love hugging you and I hope your daddy will hug my little girl. And she looked up, and she said, my daddy died saving the people on the airplane. He was part of the nine eleven.

MarySue Hansell
Oh geez Peggy.

Peggy
I was destroyed, I mean but these children get it.

MarySue Hansell
Yeah.

Peggy
They get it they want to help, all ages, they definitely want to do something where they know theyre making an impact. So if I can focus my work with kids like that, Id be happy.

MarySue Hansell
Sounds like its your next calling.

Peggy
Yeah, you know, that and doing more networking, we started our endowment last year. We need to build our endowment and get it to a point where our administrative expenses will be taken care of through the endowment. Because you know, when people talk about an organization, one of the things they want to know is, what the percentages of their donation will go to your program, and what will go to admin. Nobody wants to pay salaries or electric for the office or anything, and yet you need all those things. So I thought wouldnt it be wonderful if we never had to worry about administrative costs. So when we had a fundraiser or I did an appeal, that people would know that one hundred percent of what they were donating was making a big impact on the families that need help.

MarySue Hansell
Oh thats a good idea, yeah.

Peggy
And that would encourage them to give more.

MarySue Hansell
Exactly, I was just going to say that. I know that would make me want to give more too, and most people because you think, oh that goes directly to help those children.

Peggy
Right, exactly, and then Ill always be a board member.

MarySue Hansell
Now your website.

Peggy
So, thats my retirement.

MarySue Hansell
Oh wonderful. So I just want to make sure our listeners knew the website to donate, that was dolan fund dot org, is that correct?

Peggy
Thats correct.

MarySue Hansell
Oh good. Now my last question to you is Peggy, how do you hope that Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund is helping to make the world a better place for seriously ill children?

Peggy
Well, I kind of know now, at least since weve been around for forty years, when we started this we were a rare breed. You know, its like, people had never thought about anything like this, and I know that from one of our board members who had been director of social work, and she said that were basically, thats who we could go to. If more people would follow suit and do things, you know, focus on something, you know, we could be mentors, we could be a leader so that people will follow through. You know, you get the word out that there, and theres a lot to be said about not complaining about something thats lacking in society, but to do something about it and you know, maybe thats what we are, is were doing something. You know it may not be a lot in someones eyes, but for the person thats the recipient of our help, they get it, you know, and theyre grateful. And I think one of the nicest things, or thank you we get here from time to time, is a parent who thanks us for helping them when things were really rough. And they also say, when my life gets better, I hope to do for someone else what youve done for me.

MarySue Hansell
Well thats the major pay it forward.

Peggy
It is, it is, and thats good so maybe thats why were here. And thats why were here is to give back. You know, its like, I had a real tough time when my husband set the fund up and used our daughters name. He did all the legal work, before she died in establishing it. I thought it was very difficult for me to see the word, memorial after my daughters name. You know, you take such great care in picking your childrens names, thats the last thing you want to see. And for years I had a difficult time seeing her name as the name of the fund, I made a business out of her I felt. But it wasnt until about a year ago, I was writing something again, and I wrote down Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund, and I looked at it differently, and I thought, you know, this fund doesnt exist because Kelly died, it exists because she lived. And because she lived, now over twenty seven thousands, and probably close to twenty eight thousand families in crisis have been able to be assisted. In all kinds of ways.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, it exists because she lives and because she would be very, very happy, Im sure she is very happy, lets put it that way that you carried on, and your husband carried on, and that your children carried on in this mission shes been about helping other people. For our listeners, you can learn more about Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund by going to dolan fund dot org. Peggy thank you so much for joining us today on BetterWorldians Radio.

Peggy
Oh, thank you.

Raymond Hansell
Youre very welcome. And by the way if youre enjoying this episode of BetterWorldians Radio, please be sure to subscribe to our show on iTunes and give us a great review. Were always listening to your feedback, so let us know what you think. As we end our show each week we like to share our BetterWorldians mission here. We strive to make the world a better place by encouraging the very best in everyone. We focus on positive thinking, positive values, and positive actions. In short, our vision is to bring out the BetterWorldian in everyone, so that we can all make it a better world. So until next time, be a BetterWorldian.